Drugs & Medications

Drugs & Medications Articles

Hormone therapy: The next chapter

Hormone therapy (HT) was a mainstay of postmenopausal health care. Besides relieving hot flashes and other troublesome symptoms, it was thought to offer protection against a host of degenerative disorders. Perimenopausal women were commonly urged to consider HT, not just for symptom relief but also for benefits that included protection against osteoporosis and possibly heart disease, colon cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. Its risks were thought to be limited — mainly increased susceptibility to breast cancer and gallbladder disease. Today HT is linked not only to these conditions but also to an increased risk for stroke, blood clots, and Alzheimer's disease. Amid the growing evidence of harmful effects it's still too early to close the book on HT. More »

Acetaminophen may boost blood pressure

A small Swiss study found that daily use of acetaminophen can cause an increase in blood pressure, which is of concern to people with cardiovascular disease. When the participants took acetaminophen, average systolic blood pressure increased from 122.4 to 125.3, while the average diastolic pressure increased from 73.2 to 75.4. Blood pressure stayed steady when participants took the placebo. More »

February 2011 references and further reading

Antman EM, Bennett JS, Daugherty A, Furberg C, Roberts H, Taubert KA. Use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs: an update for clinicians: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation 2007; 115:1634-42. Sudano I, Flammer AJ, Periat D, et al. Acetaminophen increases blood pressure in patients with coronary artery disease. Circulation 2010; 122:1789-96. Forman JP, Rimm EB, Curhan GC. Frequency of analgesic use and risk of hypertension among men. Archives of Internal Medicine 2007; 167:394-9. (Locked) More »

New drug offers warfarin alternative for atrial fibrillation

A newly approved alternative to warfarin, a drug called dabigatran (sold under the brand name Pradaxa), fights stroke better than warfarin, with less bleeding into the brain, among people with atrial fibrillation. It could also make life a little bit easier for them. Pradaxa is not affected by diet and does not require its dosage to be fine-tuned. For some people, switching right away to Pradaxa makes sense. For others, it is worth adopting a watch-and-wait strategy. Talk with your doctor to see which approach is right for you. (Locked) More »

Protect your heart during dental work

In the past, people taking an antiplatelet medication were usually told to stop taking it temporarily before dental surgery, but doing so may increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke in the weeks following the procedure. Experts we talked to offered advice about how to protect your heart if you need to undergo periodontal treatment or other invasive dental work. (Locked) More »

January 2011 references and further reading

Kvaavik E, Batty GD, Ursin G, Huxley R, Gale CR. Influence of individual and combined health behaviors on total and cause-specific mortality in men and women: the United Kingdom health and lifestyle survey. Archives of Internal Medicine 2010; 170:711-8. Myint PK, Luben RN, Wareham NJ, Bingham SA, Khaw KT. Combined effect of health behaviours and risk of first ever stroke in 20,040 men and women over 11 years' follow-up in Norfolk cohort of European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC Norfolk). BMJ 2009; 338:b349. Chiuve SE, McCullough ML, Sacks FM, Rimm EB. Healthy lifestyle factors in the primary prevention of coronary heart disease among men: benefits among users and nonusers of lipid-lowering and antihypertensive medications. Circulation 2006; 114:160-7. (Locked) More »